We might actually make progress on Sunday liquor sales next year - Bring Me The News

We might actually make progress on Sunday liquor sales next year

They've tried it before, and failed every time. But could 2017 be the year Minnesota finally OKs Sunday liquor sales?
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Lawmakers hinted that Sunday liquor sales may become a reality in Minnesota next year.

Last year (and every other year it's been discussed), a proposal to lift the ban on Sunday sales was voted down in the House, 70-56. But this year could be different, House Speaker Kurt Daudt told reporters Monday.

He thinks the House will pass a Sunday sales bill in 2017 after speaking to some of his colleagues, adding it's "past time" to allow liquor stores to be open on Sundays.

"If a liquor store doesn't want to be open on Sunday, they don't have to," Daudt said. "Customers, consumers, our constituents would like them to have that flexibility, and frankly would like them to be open."

House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman, a Democrat who has been against Sunday sales, has changed her tune on Sunday sales, noting she's "regularly – if not daily – lobbied on the issue by my husband, so I'm pretty open-minded about getting it taken care of."

What about the Senate?

Gov. Mark Dayton has said in the past that he would sign a repeal of Sunday sales if a bill makes it to his desk, but that can't happen until it passes both the House and the Senate.

And Senate leadership wasn't as keen on the idea of allowing Sunday sales during Monday's news conference.

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, a Republican, said he'd "generally be no on Sunday sales, but I really want to see what our caucus thinks on that ... stay tuned."

Meanwhile Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, a Democrat, was a flat-out "no" when asked about Sunday sales.

A look at Sunday sales efforts

Minnesotans haven't been able to buy alcohol at a liquor store on a Sunday for 158 years, with Minnesota being one of 12 states with such a ban.

And for years, consumers and advocacy groups have been pushing to change Minnesota's liquor laws, saying the antiquated regulation put the state at a disadvantage (especially since you can hop across the border to get some booze). Those groups have seen some success – like changes that allow taprooms and tasting rooms, as well as allowing breweries and brewpubs to sell growlers on Sundays.

But many lawmakers (see this list from MN Beer Activists) have been hesitant to pass a full out repeal of the ban on Sunday sales, in part because they feel it could hurt small, independent liquor stores that can't afford to open on Sundays.Lawmakers hinted that Sunday liquor sales may become a reality in Minnesota next year.

Last year, a proposal to lift the ban on Sunday sales was voted down in the House, 70-56. But this year could be different, House Speaker Kurt Daudt told reporters during a Legislative Session preview Monday

He thinks they'll "pass Sunday sales out of the House this year" after speaking to some of his colleagues, adding it's just "past time" to allow liquor stores to be open on Sundays.

"If a liquor store doesn't want to be open on Sunday, they don't have to," Daudt said Monday. "Customers, consumers, our constituents would like them to have that flexibility, and frankly would like them to be open."

House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman, a Democrat who has been against Sunday sales, has changed her tune on Sunday sales, noting she's "regularly – if not daily – lobbied on the issue by my husband, so I'm pretty open minded about getting it taken care of."

What about the Senate?

Gov. Mark Dayton has said in the past that he would sign a repeal of Sunday sales if a bill makes it to his desk, but that can't happen until it passes both the House and the Senate.

And Senate leadership wasn't as keen on the idea of allowing Sunday sales during Monday's news conference.

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, a Republican, said he'd "generally be no on Sunday sales, but I really want to see what our caucus thinks on that ... stay tuned," while Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, a Democrat, was a flat-out "no" when asked about Sunday sales.

A look at Sunday sales efforts

Minnesotans haven't been able to buy alcohol at a liquor store on a Sunday since 1935, the Star Tribune reports, making Minnesota just one of 12 states with such a ban.

And for years, consumers and advocacy groups have been pushing to change Minnesota's liquor laws, saying the antiquated laws put the state at a disadvantage to its neighbors. They've seen some success – like changes that allow taprooms and tasting rooms, as well as allowing breweries and brewpubs to sell growlers on Sundays – but a full out repeal of the ban on Sunday sales

But lawmakers (see this list from MN Beer Activists) have been hesitant to pass a full out repeal of the ban on Sunday sales, in part because they feel it could hurt small, independent liquor stores that can't afford to open on Sundays.

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